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Are Software Developers Naturally Weird? 579

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-put-your-pants-on dept.
jammag writes "Well, c'mon, yes — let's admit it. As a veteran coder discusses as he looks at his career, software development is brimming with the offbeat, the quirky and the downright odd. As he remembers, there was the 'Software Lyrics' guy and the 'Inappropriate Phone Call' programmer, among others. Are unique types drawn to the profession, or are we 'transformed over time by our darkened working environments and exposure to computer screen radiation?'"
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Are Software Developers Naturally Weird?

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  • by dsginter (104154) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:10PM (#29785113)

    There is no "normal" - everyone seems to have something. Developers (and geeks, in general) just wear it out there on their sleeve.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:16PM (#29785157)

    Here's a tip: everybody loves to think they're unique and "weird." The most conventional, boring, person you know is going to describe how wacky their party was if you ask.

    In reality, there's no such thing as "weird" because there's no such thing as "normal." If you encounter somebody you think embodies "normal", well, you just don't know them well-enough. (I bet a lot of people thought Tom Cruise was normal before he started jumping on Oprah's couch.)

  • No, there are not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZouPrime (460611) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:18PM (#29785171)

    Strange, weird and unique peoples work in every sphere of society. You only think coders are special because you happen to hang out with coders and not, say, accountants. If you were hanging out with accountants, you would find accountants a weird and diverse bunch too, but instead you have a stereotypical view of how accountants act, just like the rest of the population have a stereotypical view of coders.

  • huh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by maxwells daemon (105725) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:18PM (#29785177)

    My mistake ... I thought it said WIRED.

  • Short résumé (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:23PM (#29785223) Homepage Journal

    Everybody is unique.

  • Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:24PM (#29785231) Homepage Journal
    Do weird people naturally become software developers?
  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#29785243)


    Sigh. Whenever we have these "we only seem weird to you cretinous neurotypicals because we're geniuses" circle jerks the sloppy spelling and grammar really starts to grate.

    And actually it's completely back to front. We socially lazy people are good at programming because we have lots and lots of free time that the regular folks spend being sociable.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:27PM (#29785249)
    A lot of softies I know feel they have to prove something. Whether that's simply to get attention, or as an attempt to stand out from the masses, I can't say. It does seem though, that if you want to get noticed you have to be or do something that set you apart. Examples such as being a drama queen (is this classic attention seeking as you see in small children?), or claiming "special allowances" (I've just *got* to have a desk by the window - or I get SAD") or just having strange habits or superstitions: like not getting in to the office until lunchtime ("but I'm an afternoon person") - for whatever reason.

    Personally I think a lot of it has to do with power and boundaries - again, just like with small children. Because any IT person who shows a modicum of talent is so sought after, that their employers will go to great lengths to retain them. If that means playing along with their emotional issues, well: so be it.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eihab (823648) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:30PM (#29785271)

    This must be some kind of a joke. The first "example" is:

    When Ted would deliver his code for the QA group for testing, there would be much rolling of the eyes. You see, Ted like to sprinkle comments in his code that were not relevant to the software. And not just irrelevant comments, but just plain weird comments. For example, a case statement would be preceded with:

    “I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees. Asked the Lord above for mercy, ‘save me if you please.”

    Huh? Or, a comment next to a loop would state:

    “You spin me right round, baby right round like a record, baby Right round round round”

    Yep – song lyrics. The first is from an Eric Clapton song “Crossroads” and if you saw the Wedding Singer, you’d recognize the looping Dead or Alive lyrics.

    But, again huh???

    Where these comments hurting anyone? Probably not, but they were at a minimum distracting.

    That's not weird, this guy is just an idiot who can't be bothered commenting his code.

    I'm fine with the occasional clever witty comment (I've done it myself) as long as the code makes sense and that everything is documented (e.g. This method does x, y, z and also takes over the world).

    The other two examples are just as bogus:

    a) a guy who interrupts co-workers at inappropriate times and starts chatting about life matters and doesn't know when to shut up.

    b) a girl who's always on the phone distracting co-workers with inappropriate topics (calling guys about passing STDs to them and eventually doing phone interviews for other jobs).

    I'm sorry, but none of this warrant a "software developers are naturally weird" headline. People are weird and every profession has its crazes. I can think of a lot of professions that suffer from the last two examples more so than software development.

    This article is either a troll or the bastard child of a slow news Sunday, either way, I took the bait.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:31PM (#29785275)

    ...calling her ex-boyfriends to let them know she may have exposed them to an STD.

    That's just nasty. That should really be part of an article titled: "Are Coworkers Sometimes Unpleasant?"

    Well, it's inappropriate to make the call while at work (or at least, while you can be overheard) but otherwise it's very responsible to tell previous partners they might be at risk. All they have to do is get a test.

  • by JohnFen (1641097) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:33PM (#29785285)

    We socially lazy people are good at programming because we have lots and lots of free time that the regular folks spend being sociable.

    I think this is the largest truth of it. Why are we good at things technological? Because we're so interested in it that we've spent an enormous amount of time and effort on it. Time and effort that had to come at the expense of neglecting other activities.

    Also, we tend to be a bit elitist in attitude and relish all things that set us apart. So we probably think we're weirder than we really are.

    Also also, people are just weird. I've never known a normal person in my entire life.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#29785305)

    Being a Scientologist alone counts as "weird." That was kind of my point...

  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:39PM (#29785309)
    I find that often hiring managers tolerate jerks in our profession because a lot of hotshot programmers develop a large ego early in their careers, aided by management teams that enable this disfunction. The net result is a work place with high turn over of 'normal people'. There are a lot of hiring managers who read Slashdot. My message to then is 'Don't hire jerks'. Great programmers have lots of options about who to work for. If you have a team where you tolerate jerks then good people will leave and good prospective employees will turn down your job offers after meeting your jerks during the interview process.
  • by MrMr (219533) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:44PM (#29785339)
    Photos or it didn't happen.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:48PM (#29785363) Homepage

    Geeks love to tell themselves self-congratulatory tales about how they're weird, or prone to Aspergers, or otherwise exempt from the normal conventions of human interaction, because they're so smart and talented. Hey baby, I'm a rockstar! I don't need to know all that crap about proper hygiene or graceful social interaction--my brain is too full of powerful code that's the next killer app!

    Programming will mature as a discipline when programmers see themselves as not that different from any other skilled, educated professional.

  • viewpoint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ei4anb (625481) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:49PM (#29785367)
    "Weird" is an irregular adjective that varies with the pronoun. An example illustrates best:
    I am interesting
    You are eccentric
    He is weird
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:23PM (#29785605)

    Programming, and engineering in general, is a solitary practice. Living in your own head so often for so long makes you weird. Period.

  • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:32PM (#29785689)


    Yeah, I've gotten to the level know when someone asks me the 'wrong' question I now answer "You're not asking me the right question". I used to answer it.

    I usually tell them what the right question is and then the answer for it.

    I've come a long way from just answering the wrong question and leaving it sit.

  • by jmcvetta (153563) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:36PM (#29785721)

    I find the best programmers are the ones with the maturity to complete a task when they said they would. Who can perform an exhaustive session of testing without complaining (even though it's boring, but necessary work). Who will produce the required documentation to a high standard and will play nice with the other members of the team they are in.

    That is one kind of 'best'. But in my experience, the folks who grind through exhaustive & tedious tasks with nary a peep of discontent, rarely have good creative skills.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:02PM (#29785943) Journal

    I think it has more to do with the way a geek's brain works. I'll give an example, true story-

    So I'm doing a little hired gun work for a friend who needed someone to set up a bunch of systems at this decently sized office. Now before I even get to his office i hear all these 'stories" about how Jimmy is 'weird" and 'rude' and how they needed him because he is a wiz at code so don't piss him off. Me, I've played gigs behind chicken wire and dodged gunfire before, so don't nothing phase me. A couple of days later some of them in that section of the office are stopping me asking "How do you do it? We can hear you two just a laughing and joking, he is NEVER like that with us!"

    I said "You just got to know how guys like him work, hell I've BEEN a guy like him. When a pro basketball player is shooting free throws and hitting nothing but net, would you disturb him? When he gets that blank look on his face the answer to a problem is popping in his head, when he goes flying off it isn't to be rude, it is because if he doesn't put it down RIGHT NOW he will lose it, maybe forever. The reason I get along fine with him is when I see that blank look come over him I just shut up and let him get into the zone. Do that and all is gravy."

    So this whole thing over the guy being "weird" or "rude" was just that he had anywhere from 3-12 problems at a time floating around his brain and when the answer would come to him he would have to rush to get it all down while it was fresh. By the time I left everybody got along fine with him, because when they saw that "blank look" they would just stop talking and pick back up next time they saw him. It wasn't like he was TRYING to be rude or act like an ass, it was just his head was "too full" and he needed to get stuff out when he fell into the zone. Sometimes you just have to let the guy work, you know?

  • by noidentity (188756) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:12PM (#29786029)

    Yeah, I've gotten to the level know when someone asks me the 'wrong' question I now answer "You're not asking me the right question". I used to answer it.

    I do this out of habit now when someone asks me a negated question:

    Someone: "Are you not going?"
    Me: "Correct"

    I used to answer "Yes, I'm not going", but "correct" is a more lazy way now. Answering just "yes" when I'm not going just confuses them, even though they are to blame for asking the negated question in the first place. I mean, it's not too hard to grasp. If the answer to "Are you going?" is "no", then clearly the answer to "Are you not going?" is "yes".

  • by jmcvetta (153563) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:22PM (#29786115)

    Programming will mature as a discipline when programmers see themselves as not that different from any other skilled, educated professional.

    This will occur when prostration before academic authority figures for a prolonged and expensive period, rather than talent & ability, becomes the requirement for admission into the profession.

  • by Nitewing98 (308560) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:26PM (#29786141) Homepage

    Thinking over the folks I've worked with, I would have to agree that geeks in general share some common traits. We hate inaccuracy (sometimes pathologically). Most of us have at least one toy (maybe more) on or in our desks. Geeks that do tech support all hate "stupid users" but depend on them for a living (there's a dichotomy). Programmers usually expect true logic to apply to people and are disappointed in people when they won't be logical. Most of us come in late and work late. Once we go home, we get on our computer at home. We tend to like science fiction and fantasy books/movies (including comic books). We will easily convince a non-player character to join our dungeon quest but get a "deer in the headlights" look when confronted with asking someone out on a date.

    Not every geek will conform to the stereotype, but stereotypes come about because they are observations about life. We're not all like the above description, but see if there aren't several of those traits that apply to you.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:01PM (#29786387)

    No, being a scientologist counts as being mentally retarded, not weird.

  • Re:Developers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andre_pl (1607319) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:02PM (#29786397)

    Every single programming question I deployed on the net was received with an elitist disregard, sending me to read tons of papers and stuff I don't really have an use for, specially because even if I try I can't understand it. They assume you have high education in MIT and you had to start from mainframes like they did or something.

    Game programming is a very difficult field, are you expecting these people to just write code for you? sometimes you really do need to understand the fundamentals in order to be able to write the code, If people are giving you links to tons of papers to help solve your problem then I would argue that they are being helpful, its not their fault that you "don't really have an use for" it, or that you don't understand why the background information is important. it sounds to me like you think programming is as easy as "give me teh codez" and then pasting it all together, which may be true for a subset of simple problems, but when developing your own game, its simply not that easy, and you really do need to study and read, a LOT. Even if your game is going to be really similar to some other game out there, you can guarantee that the code is very very different, and nobody can just throw you some code to solve your problems, you need to study and read and understand, and THEN you can write the code yourself... if you need to ask questions in order to create your game, then you don't have enough background knowledge and you really do need to read the materials they're giving you... EVERY programming problem can be solved with enough reading and understanding of the works of the giants whose shoulders you stand on, and nobody will have a more appropriate solution to your problem than you, you just need to find that solution yourself.

  • by StarfishOne (756076) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:07PM (#29786431)

    So familiar :)

    E.g. something along the line of:

    "Would you like chocolade or cake?"

    "Yes!" ;-)
  • by MattXBlack (1534971) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:10PM (#29786455)
    This thread gets more self aware as you scroll down, but your comment makes me feel quite sad. Don't give up on pursuing a relationship just because you had a bad experience - what you have said suggests that you are sufficiently mature and emotionally 'in touch' to recognise your own faults, which is the biggest stumbling block in most relationships. I'd suggest you look for women who you share interests with. Maybe they won't be into coding, but someone with an analytical mind, or with the autistic traits you have identified in yourself (or that others have identified in you). I'd guess you have a lot of good to share with someone, so don't punish yourself for one relationship that didn't work out.
  • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:17PM (#29786507)

    I think that's very naive approach to verbal communication often adopted by programmers.

    If a person "says" something, then they are using spoken words to convey a particular meaning. In most contexts, using the words "Are you not going" conveys that the speaker does not know for certain if the addressed person is going (though the speaker suspects the addressed is not going - against earlier expectations), and requests that the addressed confirms that they are not going by responding in the negative or belays their suspicions by replying some other way. I suspect this phrase has become prevalent because it is extremely economical - almost universally understood and can convey what I typed in a couple lines in less than a second. Note that it conveys more information than a mere request for the addressed to make their position on a subject clear.

    Most native English speakers are capable of using contextual clues to understand all this intuitively, and will not be consciously aware absurdity that arises when the words are parsed literally. Some people need to resort to intellectually determining the meaning of phrases like this.

    Where I say 'programmers' it may be more appropriate to say 'people who lie further to the autistic side of the autism spectrum than average'

  • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:20PM (#29786535) Journal

    Aww fudgit...

    "We need more people like you to explain people like us to people like them."

    And I mean it sincerely, not to be all funny.

  • by Xtravar (725372) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:28PM (#29786603) Homepage Journal

    So, normal software developers are not weird. They do simple things, like subclassing windows and putting together trees of data structures. But... the few who can do magic under the hood - yes, those guys are just a bit different.

    Ya know... I find the normal developers to be the weirdest. I think it takes a really extraordinary person to appear 'normal' on the outside and still code like a motha'. Usually it's the dummies who act awkward, in my experience.

    There are people who are born to solve problems, to take things apart and put them back together. These used to be the mechanics and engineers in decades past.

    And then there are people who don't fit in anywhere else and decide they want to unite with other awkward people, and working with computers is a byproduct of that. This is the type who says, "Gee, I like video games, I should be a computer developer." Bleh.

  • by tftp (111690) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:30PM (#29786621) Homepage

    Architecture is part art and part dumb labor. I know because I worked in this field. Art occurs at the topmost level, and once the designer is done the rest of the team (90% at least) are stuck with drawing endless elevations, sections and details - and with changing them (usually by redrawing) when the team leader suddenly decides that he wants different window here or a different staircase there.

    Medicine is minimally creative, unless you talk about scientists (and scientists are probably all creative.) In medicine you need to match observed symptoms to a set of possible causes, and then narrow it down. Once you settle on a specific cause you open the book and read what treatments are prescribed for it. Very little creativity is required, but a lot of pattern matching, like detective's work. But rare a doctor discovers a new disease; some come up with a new treatment. Look at dentists, they are working like machinists at a factory, doing pretty much the same type of work.

    Finally, I don't know much about law firsthand, but still I am pretty sure that rarely a lawyer invents a completely new defense. In most cases old, well known defenses and tactics work just fine. Law is very conservative, and I believe that most cases are solved and tried by methods that were known hundreds of years ago, as far back as the Roman Empire. Their "secret language" is Latin, not Klingon.

  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:35PM (#29786679) Homepage
    I don't know about that. Geeks care about how other think of them. Geeks often feel the need to be recognized as the smartest guy in the room. Put a bunch of geeks together and see the type of arguments they will get in. They'll split hair until there's nothing left just to proof their "superiority". They might not care how others think of them in other dimensions such as clothing, hygiene, sociability, etc. but "intelligence" in a very narrowly defined way matters a lot to geeks.
  • CEOs & traders (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:41PM (#29786733)
    My personal view, based on several of them, is that CEOs are weird because they are put in an impossible job which rewards a degree of psychopathy, but are expected also to be successful socially. Traders would be expected to be weird for quite a different reason. As Taleb points out, they think that they are making rational decisions which affect the outcome of their bets, when in fact the outcome is more or less random. As a result there is little correlation between their mental processes and reward. This is a recipe for neurosis.

    Programming involves trying to reproduce the literal mindedness of an autistic person. Maths involves deliberate abstraction from the real world. Surgery involves doing things that may kill someone in order to cure them. It's unsurprising that these occupations too can result in strange mindsets in their practitioners.

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @04:22PM (#29787055)

    Yeah, I've gotten to the level know [sic] when someone asks me the 'wrong' question I now answer "You're not asking me the right question".

    Allow me to introduce you to the next level - at this level you ignore minor failings of spelling or syntax (as you see them) if it is still clear what meaning was intended. If correcting mistakes, you take care not to make some of your own in the answer (bonus points for finding some error in this reply, but to harp on it *would* mean you're missing the point somewhat). Many people, who programmers might otherwise consider normal or even stupid, reach this level by age 18 or so.

    The structure of human languages are not very close to logical, and attempting to parse all statements as if they were intended as logical constructs is not going to work - this might be seen as a failing, or it might be seen as something adding texture and colour to the language. There are good reasons we use programming language for computers, and human language for humans.

    Consider the following phrases, which subtly change the emphasis while still having roughly the same logical meaning:

    Is this it?
    Is this not it?
    Is this the one?
    It's not this one?
    It's not this one, is it?
    Is this not the one?
    This must be it, surely?
    Perhaps this is the one?

    All would be understood, and seen as closer or farther from the accepted normal usage by different speakers of English in different parts of the world. Most contain redundancies or are technically incorrect in some way.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @04:28PM (#29787109) Homepage

    I'd much rather have a comment tell me something is a WTF and is clearly violating some assumption the developer had rather than lyric comments. Work is work and play is play, I might end up making doodles on meeting notes during PHB moments but not on the final writeup I send out. Somehow I suspect the lyric comments were instead of, not in addition to the comments that ought ot have been there. Take five, grab a cup of coffee and chill out with whatever rather than stuff that kind of things into the product.

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @05:51PM (#29787759) Journal

    Most people operate in an environment where other peoples opinions are more important than the facts. So, they make an effort to fit in and not telegraph things that might be controversial. People in IT, engineering, etc... they operate in an environment where the facts are everything, and the more controversial a fact, the more reward to the person who establishes it.

    It's easy to fit in, and be normal. You spend a bit of money on clothes, you spend a bit of time learning about things that normal people care about, like sports and dancing, you shut up about things that require specialization in the field to understand, and you're done. Other people aren't psychic... they don't see into your weird little brain. If you spend a little time caring to fit in, you do.

    When I turned 30, for a number of personal reasons, I actually made the effort for the first time in my life, and spent years afterwards wondering why I had been unwilling to do so for so long when the effort required was so small and the social rewards were so great. I chalk it up to naivety.

    Software developers seem weird because they don't care to seem normal, they overestimate the effort required, and they underestimate the rewards. It's not that most people are genuinely normal and weirdos have to wear camouflage to fake it. It's that most people wear camouflage, and weirdos refuse to do so.

  • by Gorobei (127755) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @06:38PM (#29788023)

    Ya know... I find the normal developers to be the weirdest.

    Exactly right. All developers are a bit quirky, but the seriously weird always seem to be the wannabes in the middle of the pack.

    The best developers I know are odd: they ignore a lot of life-stuff, but concentrate on making really good technical and biz decisions. They seem strange, but have no trouble finding hot girlfriends and good jobs. The second tier is a bit of a cargo-cult: they imitate the strange aspect, then get confused when the chicks and money don't arrive.

  • by PMBjornerud (947233) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @06:56PM (#29788129)

    Agreed; "Are you not going?" conveys that the asker thinks you're not, and wants to confirm that. He wants to communicate this assumption, rather than just asking "Are you going?", which implies he doesn't know one way or another (he could communicate that he thinks you are going by asking "Are you still going?").

    But the way he asks it puts the listener in a bind. Should the listener take it literally, or negate its meaning? Negating its meaning just leads to more unclear cases, ones that I might notice but answer in a way that differs from what the asker is assuming. Often I only realize later that a question I asked was ambiguous, or an answer I gave was ambiguous, and then start to wonder whether the other person is doing what I thought he would.

    I want to avoid this from the start, so I disambiguate a question with my answer. The asker can still convey his assumption in this case by asking "Are you staying?". If he can't eliminate the negation, he can still ask something like "Is it correct that you're not going?"

    So I don't think it's a simple thing like you describe. If you're going to fault people like me, it must be for thinking of the larger picture and the overall effect of ambiguous questions, the king of thinking that programmers do when deciding on coding styles with regard to defect rates.

    Study more languages!

    The interesting part is when you realize that for example English and Japanese have opposite rules for answering negated questions. Japanese focuses on the person asking (assuming you are not coming) and English answers the topic at hand (if you're going to the party or not)

    Scandinavian languages have three words for "yes" and "no", the last one only when replying to negated sentences. (Which makes it translate to "Yes" in English and "Iie" ("No") in Japanese). I have no idea why there is no 4th word to handle the opposite answer.

    And this is why everyone should learn more languages. To realize that words are not a 1:1 mapping of the world, but that the way the human mind relates to things and defines your place in the world is strongly linked to which languages you operate with.

    (I had a few drinks. I'll go to bed before I come up with long arguments about language being the OS for the brain. Sorry about the typos ;)

  • Re:Pedantic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p1 0 l> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:11PM (#29788225) Homepage

    A lot of software is just a variant on a theme though, similar to lots of software that existed before but slightly different to fit the demands of a different business.

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:24PM (#29788307)

    Software types are more analytical, (either as a result or as an cause of them being in their field). As such they see things that Joe Random doesn't even notice.

    When the waitress says "If you need anything else, my name is Betty" Joe Random grunts and takes a bite of his meal. Programmer dude wonders what her name is if he doesn't need any thing else.

    What you are describing is JOE RANDOM seeing things that the programmer doesn't even notice.

    When the waitress says "If you need anything else, my name is Betty" Joe Random instantly knows that what she means is "if you need anything else and you can't immediately find me, just tell any other restaurant employee what you want and that you are being looked after by Betty. I value the opportunity to provide personal service to you because I'm a waitress and much of my take-home pay is in tips from happy customers". Joe Random understands this because he understands people, has eaten in restaurants before, has tipped waitresses before, and he understands the unwritten rules of communication in a wide range of social situations, including this one.

    Programmer dude has problems understanding why people don't explain themselves clearly, when in fact the problem is that he has no sense of communication in a social context. Joe Random and Betty just exchanged a massive amount of information, referring to customs, past experiences, the hierarchy of the restaurant staff, Betty's personal situation, possible future events, and Joe Random's understanding with nothing more than one verbal sentence from Betty and a grunt from Joe Random.

    Programmer dude noticed none of this.

  • Re:viewpoint (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matheus (586080) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:58PM (#29788495) Homepage

    She is HOT!

  • by Imrik (148191) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:01PM (#29788855) Homepage

    Or the programmer understood the same things that Joe Random did but also amused himself by parsing the grammar literally.

  • by Ifandbut (1328775) on Monday October 19, 2009 @12:12AM (#29790317)

    It's not that most people are genuinely normal and weirdos have to wear camouflage to fake it. It's that most people wear camouflage, and weirdos refuse to do so.

    Wouldn't life be better if we all did not wear camouflage?

  • by Chrisje (471362) on Monday October 19, 2009 @02:35AM (#29791075)

    All of you people are delusional. I have weird friends in tech, definitely, but then I have to admit most of my friends are in tech, and this is a tech forum. All of this "I am a bigger geek than you" is a pissing contest without any merit.

    To illustrate this, I had a girlfriend once. Lived together with her for three years. She was a delightful woman whom I met in her dad's little Classical Music and Jazz CD store. She was completely non-technical and functioned relatively normally in most settings, but by god was she a geek. A classical music geek with a penchant for literature and some other culturally tinged stuff. Spoke Czech, Swedish and English, was highly intelligent and had a shitty job for a while. Now she works at a law firm that deals with patents and patent law (Patentbyrå), as an assistant to patent lawyers. She was so goddamn geeky at heart she would put most of us on /. to shame. It's just a kind of weirdness and geekiness most of "us" here on /. won't recognize if it kicked us in the arse, that is.

    Maybe your average software developer can do magic under the hood, but he's not motivated to. Maybe (s)he can do magic under the hood in bed, in a kitchen, on a squash court, with a chemistry lab or with a bass, but you'll never know it. On the other hand, one of the most common beliefs amongst humans is that one is different or not normal. Superior, even.

    This planet is filled with weird fuckers. The trick is figuring out what's weird about whom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @04:42AM (#29791535)

    Everybody wearing camouflage is a nice safe Nash equilibrium for the world. If nobody does it, the first guy to start pretending he's not weird gets a massive advantage over everybody. If everybody does it, nobody's losing out except for any software developers who didn't take a semester of game theory at college.

  • by vegiVamp (518171) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:26AM (#29793041) Homepage
    Better I'm not sure about, but it'd definitely be more interesting.
  • by Mathonwy (160184) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:28PM (#29801125)

    By extension, then, wouldn't life be better if there were no privacy?


ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.